Like last year, the meeting took place at Lincoln County High School, and could be attended by car. Unlike last year, in person attendance was also possible. Voting for trustees had already been done (Exclusively by mail), though the results were announced at the meeting.
In a somewhat novel experience, there were (for one district) more candidates than vacancies, so the election had the possibility of making a difference. All three incumbents were reelected, including Tina Taurman (District 7). Taurman ran unopposed, with 335 votes.
With coffee, breakfast (Four Corners) and 75th Anniversary cake (Second Chance Bakery) available outside the auditorium (and a video stream of the stage), it was a very comfortable meeting. Attendees could choose between the easy to get out of chairs outside the auditorium (but no back support) or the chairs inside the auditorium that offered back support if perhaps a bit more difficulty in getting up. Of course, the food (and coffee) was outside the auditorium.
Folks were evidently pleased by the opportunity to be around friends and neighbors. It had the sense of after church coffee hour, if after church coffee happened during the service. Talking stopped for the pledge, and things were a bit quieter during the doorprize drawings, and much quieter for the luck of the draw scholarships. This year, the gift cards included one to Trego Pub.
I did try to get closer to the speakers, since the actual meeting content sounded interesting. Unfortunately, standing up gave neighboring tables a view of my service dog, and the whispering kept things just as hard to hear as when I had been seated.
So, having cake and hearing the meeting did not combine well. That said, I do still have at least some details to share. Ryan Hall (whose article can be found in the recent issue of Rural Montana) spoke about the efforts that Montana Electric Cooperatives’ Association (MECA) made to combat a feasibility study of breaching the Lower Snake River Dams. Replacing the Lower Snake River Dams with other clean-energy options would be very expensive, and, at least in the case of solar, impractical.
Dam breaching is proposed for environmental benefits, in this case restoring fisheries to benefit salmon is a major concern. The electric cooperatives consider the new proposed study to be part of a strategy by people that want the dams breached to keep ordering studies until one meets their needs. Members attending the meeting were encouraged to fill out postcards to be sent to the governor, supporting MECA’s aims with regards to the Lower Snake River Dams.